The rhythm of the garden is surging and right now magnificent.
The home harvest brings the challenge of making sure the excess is well preserved.
But if we do not get above average rainfall this autumn Victorian growers will really be pushed to the limit.
The prune plums attained their glory and are now dried and stashed along with the dried Granny Smiths. There is a glut of cucumbers so some pickles are on the cards.
.The melons are getting to a decent size and preservation recipes are being collected, perhaps a Callison-style sweetmeat with the new honey?
Last week was full-on beginning with preparation for our Melbourne Food and Wine Festival lunch. The itch slowly faded as Diane and I became completely immersed in the menu planning and set up.
A very capable crew assembled with Anton of la Madre fame, helping in the kitchen. Denis oven builder and resident honorary health and safety officer, on oven and sink. Ella and Kathleen, new faces on the floor. With Lea [Mr.T Spoon, the coffee magician] Ingrid back from 7 years of un-paid long-service leave and Di leading the floor.
All intentions of capturing the day on the camera quickly dissolved into the bustle of the prep and service.
The menu is like a jigsaw always finalised on the day.
The bread was made with a long slow Biga fermented overnight.
Katos came good with some very fresh local Snapper which we flashed in the wood oven with a salad of home grown garlic, purslane, fennel, rock samphire and a dressing made by Di using the last of our Arbequina EVO.
Gosling Creek Reisling 2006 Murroon.
This was followed by a selection of antipasto-
House made panir [the only photo I took]
Garden fresh cucumbers, perilla and pepper.
Skipton smoked eel with an anchoiade de Croze and Leeks.
A haricot bean salad with a smokey mustard dressing.
A confit of wild rabbit and Western Plains pork with spiced morello cherries served with finely grated Granny Smiths that had just ripened last week.
The prep started early with the beef slowly braised in the wood oven with a sofrito enhanced with orange zest. The bones removed much to the delight of the four leggeds exiled to the canine stalag for the day. Narelle is not to be trusted and Barbie is a bit bewildered these days and can’t hear the cars.
The tomatoes for the salad came good at the last minute and now we are picking 3 to four buckets a day for the year’s supply of tomato sauce. The spuds came from one of our neighbours.
Innisfail Cab merlot 2004 and Farr Rising Shiraz 2005.
Poached white nectarines and plums served with a buttermilk Bavarois
Fizz with a white peach granita.
I apologise for some of the chairs the new ones will be here soon.